Haze Update: Schools to close in several Malaysian states

Haze Update: Schools to close in several Malaysian states

23 June 2013

published by www.straitstimes.com

Malaysia — SCHOOLS in several states of Malaysia will be closing on Monday, as fires continued to spread in Sumatra.

The Malaysian Government declared emergency status in the districts of Ledang and Muar in Johor, where Malaysia’s Air Pollution Index (API) spiked to 746 at 7am on Sunday, near the country’s historic highs and more than double the standard hazardous levels.

All schools in these areas will be closed, and workplaces have been advised to close.

Schools have also been declared closed in parts of Malacca, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan.

In Segamat, Johor, Bernama has reported that 110 primary and secondary schools were ordered close on Monday. An education official said the schools involved a total enrolment of 39,681 students and 3,418 teachers.

The closure order for 117 schools in Kluang and 175 schools in Baru Pahat, Johor, involving 134,872 students, has not been withdrawn, but the order has been extended to 171 primary and 40 secondary schools in Ledang and Muar following the emergency status declaration for the two districts. A total of 76,400 students and 6,846 teachers are affected by the declaration.

But the official said 300 schools in Kota Tinggi, Pontian and Pasir Gudang, which were ordered to close because of the haze problem last Friday, would reopen tomorrow following a drop in the API readings for the three areas, according to Bernama.

The Malacca state government has instructed all 313 primary and secondary schools in the state, plus all pre-schools, to be closed starting tomorrow due to the haze, Bernama said, adding that Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron said the API in Malacca town had reached the hazardous level of 397, while Bukit Rambai recorded 456 as of 2pm on Sunday.

In Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, all schools will be closed tomorrow due to health reasons as the haze situation worsened at 5pm on Sunday, The Star reported.

Meanwhile in Kuantan, Pahang, Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob has told schools in the district and areas badly affected by the haze to close starting from Monday, according to Bernama. “Looking at the situation (haze) today, it’s bad…visibility is low and it’s hard to breathe,” Bernama reported him as saying.

Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Mohamad Hasan has ordered all schools in Port Dickson to close on Monday due to the worsening haze, which saw the API reading hit the 300 mark Sunday, The Star reported.

State Department of Environment director Charanpal Singh said the situation in Nilai and Port Dickson deteriorated throughout the day. “Nilai registered a reading of 106 in the morning and by noon it was 188,” he said.

He added Port Dickson registered the highest API reading so far, with 205 on Friday. The API in Seremban was slightly above the unhealthy level of 104.

Checks in Port Dickson showed that the number of picnickers had fallen significantly due to the haze, The Star said, adding that several hotels, particularly those depending on local tourists, were also receiving fewer guests due to last-minute cancellations.

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